Certified Gold Coins
Certified gold coins are any coins that have been graded and authenticated by a major grading service like NGC or PCGS. Investors may prefer certified coins as they are guaranteed to be authentic, are typically in outstanding visual and aesthetic shape, and often are worth much more than just the gold contained in the coin.
Coins that are certified by NGC or PCGS can fall under a variety of different grades depending on the condition of the coin. The grading scales used by each of the two grading services are very different but achieve the same end of very precisely determining the condition of the coin being certified.
The NGC scale gives the coins both a number grade and a letter grade as to more precisely assess the condition of the coin. Letter grades range from P (Poor Quality) to MS (Mint State) with many other grades falling in between. The number scale ranges from 1-70 with 1 being the poorest condition and 70 being the absolute best. When coins are graded they face heavy scrutiny which means even the smallest imperfection can drastically alter the overall grade.
The PCGS scale operates in much the same way as the NGC scale in that a numerical grade between 1 and 70 is issued to the coin in addition to a 1-2 letter initial that describes the coin’s condition. The initials on the NGC scale differ slightly from those on the PCGS scale, though they have more or less the same meanings.
Certified gold coins, be them NGC or PCGS certified, are encased in a plastic slab as to preserve the coin and its condition. At the top of the slab there is a small paper insert that not only explains the grade of your coins but also identifies what kind of coin it is. In addition to the grade and name of the coin, the paper insert at the top of the slab also contains a serial number and barcode as to give you the ability to verify the coin and grade via either the PCGS or NGC website.
Once your coins are graded it is strongly recommended that you do not attempt to tamper with or take them out of their plastic slab. Doing so will undoubtedly alter the grade of the gold coin.